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Machu Picchu Negotiations Resume

A year and a half ago, the public battle between Yale and the government of Peru over the rights to artifacts from Machu Picchu appeared to be headed for the courts. But now, after a change of administration in Peru, the two sides say they are talking again and making progress, with another meeting scheduled for mid-September.

The discussions revolve around the fate of some 5,000 artifacts collected by Yale archeologist Hiram Bingham III, Class of 1898, in two expeditions to the Inca city during 1911 and 1914–15. They include 250 pieces that have been widely exhibited in museums, as well as a great deal of material that is primarily of scholarly interest—notably, several thousand fragments of ceramics and bone. Yale vice president and general counsel Dorothy Robinson, who is leading Yale’s negotiating team, wrote in an August 14 e-mail to the Yale Alumni Magazine that the two sides are discussing “a collaboration between Yale and the government of Peru” as “a creative, amicable resolution." According to Robinson, it would include “the return to Peru of the museum-quality pieces in order to allow them to be displayed in a new museum." The less valuable fragments, however, would remain at Yale.

In the meantime, Yale has agreed for the first time to provide the government of Peru with a complete inventory of its holdings, including digitized images. Yale plans to deliver the inventory in December.

The Bingham expedition’s rediscovery, in conjunction with the National Geographic Society, of the “lost city of the Incas” high in the Andean mountains soon led to Machu Picchu’s recognition as one of the world’s great cultural heritage sites. The current controversy began in 2001, when Yale anthropologists Richard Burger and Lucy Salazar sought Peru’s cooperation in organizing an exhibition on Machu Picchu. The government of then-president Alejandro Toledo responded by raising the issue of the artifacts' ownership, arguing that the Yale explorers had received permission in 1916 to take objects from the country for one year (later extended by 18 months). Yale says that the 1916 resolution only covered artifacts taken during Bingham’s second expedition in 1914–15, and that Yale long ago returned those objects. Objects from the 1911 expedition, the university maintains, belong to Yale.

Negotiations with the Toledo government ended after Luis Guillermo Lumbreras, then director of the National Institute of Culture in Lima, and Toledo’s wife, Eliane Karp-Toledo, told reporters that their country’s foreign ministry was preparing to file a lawsuit in the United States to recover the artifacts. The dispute brought wide media attention, including a cover story this past summer in the New York Times Magazine.

A spokesperson for the Embassy of Peru in Washington, DC, Vladimir Kocerha, says the current president of Peru, Alan Garcia, “has taken a new approach” to the issue. Garcia, who took office in July 2006, reestablished communications with Yale last spring. “If we’re talking, there’s no need of legal action, lawsuits, or anything of the sort,” says Kocerha. “That's history.”


Law School will expand journalism program

Last year, Boston Globe reporter Charlie Savage '03MSL wrote a series of articles documenting President George W. Bush’s extensive use of “signing statements” to assert his right to bypass acts he was signing into law. Besides winning a Pulitzer Prize for Savage and the Globe, the influential articles made an impression on the Knight Foundation, an organization that supports the advancement of journalism. In May, the foundation announced it would give the Law School $2.5 million to start the Knight Law and Media Scholars Program.

Savage is a graduate of the Law School’s master of science in law (MSL) curriculum, which trains journalists and other non-lawyers in legal basics. Law School dean Harold Hongju Koh says Savage’s achievement demonstrates the value of legal education for journalists. “A story like that might have been less subtly or fully explored by a beat reporter without legal training,” says Koh.

The new program will build on the MSL and other activities at the Law School (many of them already supported by Knight): it will establish a permanent endowment for the school’s law and media courses and research fellowships and for its yearlong training program for mid-career journalists. In addition, it will extend support to selected students—not only in the Law School, but also in the Graduate School and other professional schools—who will be named Knight Media Scholars. Additional opportunities are planned for undergraduates.

The intersection of media and law is especially important today, says Eric Newton, vice president of the Knight Foundation’s Journalism Program, because technology is enabling everyone from solo bloggers to global media giants to disseminate increasingly large amounts of information through media of all kinds. “The entire field of media policy and law is being rewritten,” says Newton. “Today’s policymakers and governments just are not up to the task.”

The Knight Program is modeled on the journalism program at Yale College, funded last year by Court TV cofounder Steven Brill '72, '75JD, and his wife, Cynthia Brill '72. The Brills have announced that they will also help fund the new program. Says Brill: “A fresh look at the legal underpinnings of journalism is needed for it to thrive.”


Grad school offers relief to students with kids

The Graduate School has a new message for its students: be fruitful and multiply. In a bid to address the difficulties associated with having children while seeking a PhD, the school has introduced a new “parental support and relief policy” that gives doctoral candidates a semester of reduced responsibilities (but no reduction in their stipend) in the semester during or after the birth or adoption of a child.

Graduate School dean Jon Butler says the new policy addresses concerns about women’s careers in academia being derailed by child-rearing. Research by Mary Ann Mason of the University of California at Berkeley has shown that women who have children early are 20 percent less likely to achieve tenure than men who have children early, and universities are responding with plans to make parenting and academia more compatible. “The university has given relief to faculty who have children,” says Butler. “Now we’re providing relief and support to graduate students.”

But like the university’s policy that stops the tenure clock and grants a semester’s paid leave for junior faculty, the plan for graduate students applies to both mothers and fathers. “Some universities restrict it to female students,” says Butler, “but we wanted to do it for men and women so that it’s truly family-friendly.”

The policy for graduate students is not a paid leave, as students will still be registered and will be expected to fulfill some academic responsibilities, which will vary according to the department and the student's specific situation. But Butler says students may be relieved of teaching responsibilities, course work, and laboratory positions during the period, and they may be able to postpone exams. Students who take advantage of the policy will have their stipend extended for eight weeks at the end of the customary six-year period.

Yale follows such peer institutions as Prince-ton, Stanford, and Berkeley in granting relief to graduate students who become parents. (Princeton goes further, offering up to $5,000 per child per year in child care assistance.) Mason, who studies the impact of family on academic careers, says that such accommodations are becoming more common. “Universities are more advanced in this area than other institutions such as law firms,” she says. “But you’re seeing the beginnings of a large, semi-organized movement to change the culture for all working mothers.”


Guns in frat house lead to student arrest

A few rounds allegedly fired at the ceiling of an off-campus fraternity house in July set in motion the suspension and arrest of a Yale College student—and a decision by the national organization of his fraternity to disband its Yale chapter.

David Light '09, a member of Calhoun College from California, was arrested on July 16 after university police found two illegal assault weapons and nine other firearms in his room at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house. Light was charged with two counts of illegal possession of assault rifles, unlawful discharge of a firearm, reckless endangerment, threatening, and breach of peace. He was released on bond and was due in court on August 23.

The university acted immediately to suspend Light, invoking a clause in the undergraduate regulations that allows the president to order an emergency suspension if he deems it necessary for “the safety and well-being of a member of the University community.” Light’s case was to be heard by the Yale College Executive Committee after the beginning of the academic year.

Light was living in the Beta Theta Pi house at 36 Lynwood Place over the summer. According to a police report, a guest at the house named Christopher Keefer heard shots coming from the common room on the night of July 13. Keefer said he found Light in the room, apparently intoxicated, with a pistol in his hand, and that he saw Light fire two rounds at the ceiling. After Light said he was shooting blanks, Keefer questioned whether what Light was doing was safe. Light allegedly responded, “Why don’t I point it at your head and find out.”

Friends told the Yale Daily News that Light’s interest in guns was no secret, and that he was “a perfectly normal person.” One student described his interest as “a collector kind of thing.”

The incident was the last straw for Beta Theta Pi’s national organization, which had put the chapter on probation in 2005 after a keg was found in the house and suspended it in 2006 because it owed the fraternity money. At its national convention in August, the fraternity voted to disband the chapter. Yale chapter president Brad Hann says the local group will continue without its national affiliation. “It’s not going to change anything on a day-to-day basis,” says Hann. “We’ll get new liability insurance from somebody else, but we’re going to keep running business as usual at the local chapter.” (The chapter owns its own house, and the fraternity has no official connection with Yale.)

As for Light, Hann says he was kicked out of the house for violating the terms of his lease, which allowed him to have firearms only if they were kept locked in the basement with no live ammunition. “He probably will not be kicked out of the fraternity, but that’s something we’ll have to discuss when we all get back together in the fall,” says Hann. 


Law School aids immigrants caught in New Haven raid

When Yale clinical law professor Michael Wishnie '87, '93JD, heard that 28 people had been detained in a federal crackdown on illegal immigrants in New Haven on June 6, he immediately thought, “This is direct retaliation for the ID program.” The raid of homes in the Fair Haven neighborhood had come two days after New Haven’s Board of Aldermen had voted 25 to 1 to offer an identification card to all city residents—including illegal immigrants.

The sweep of the neighborhood by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents was alarming for many New Haveners besides the detainees themselves. Jessica Sager '99JD, who runs a support network for day care providers, fielded calls from child care workers anxious about whether parents would be able to pick up their children.

Four more people were arrested on June 10 and 11, and Wishnie and others at the Law School, who had been instrumental in researching the legal basis for the card, quickly found themselves working around the clock to aid the men and women detained by ICE. Wishnie and clinical fellows Hope Metcalf '96 and Christopher Lasch '96JD offered free representation to those detained; 30 of them have accepted. The legal team will argue that agents entered homes without warrants or consent, impermissibly retaliated against New Haven residents for the adoption of the ID card, used racial profiling, and violated their own regulations. For instance, the agents allegedly entered one apartment with permission from only an 11-year-old child who was home alone.

In August, two Latino advocacy groups represented by Wishnie and the Law School clinic filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security. The suit asks that government records pertaining to the raids be released in order to “inform public debate.”

At the urging of Law School and community advocates, Connecticut senators Christopher Dodd and Joseph Lieberman '64, '67LLB, and local congressional representative Rosa DeLauro wrote to homeland security secretary Michael Chertoff, who oversees ICE; they asked whether the raids were retaliation and raised questions about the agents' conduct. (Five national Latino and immigration groups wrote similar letters.) Chertoff replied, denying retaliation and promising to look into the alleged misconduct.

Mayor John DeStefano Jr. argues that the Elm City Resident Card, the first of its kind in the nation, will make New Haven’s estimated 10,000 undocumented residents feel more secure talking to police. The card will also make it easier for undocumented residents to open bank accounts, he says, reducing their risk of robbery. “This policy will make New Haven a safer and more civil place,” says DeStefano. Opponents argue that the ID will attract more illegal immigrants to New Haven, including criminals.

Lines of people seeking the card overwhelmed City Hall when applications were first accepted on July 24. Among those waiting—they stood in line for more than 10 hours—were Juana Mendieta and Fidel Cuapio and their daughter. After being robbed of their pay twice at gunpoint, they said, they plan to use their IDs to open bank accounts. By August 9, nearly 2,500 residents had applied for the card.

Within weeks, lawyers enlisted by the Law School had helped get 28 of the 32 people detained in the raid out on bond. “We will litigate their cases fiercely, and for many years if necessary,” says Wishnie. He calls protecting immigrant rights “one of the major civil rights struggles of our time.”  the end






©Julie Brown

Freedom Riders

It was blue sky and fair wind on June 21 when the Amistad set sail from New Haven to visit 16 Atlantic ports on four continents—a kind of reverse tour of history. The ship, a replica of the famous schooner whose 53 West African captives rebelled against their Cuban captors in 1839, will take its crew of sailors and college students to the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa, Canada, and the Caribbean. Along the way, says Amistad America, the schooner’s sponsoring organization, the crew will promote interracial understanding and share the Amistad’s history.

That history had an important impact on Yale and New Haven. When the U.S. Navy captured the schooner and towed it to Connecticut, the Africans were imprisoned in the New Haven jail. Divinity professor Josiah Willard Gibbs (father of the famed Yale physicist) visited the wharves of New York City to find a seaman who could translate their language. That step opened the door for New Haveners and other Americans to acquaint themselves with the captives as human beings who desired to be free.





Campus Clips

The Yale College class of 2011 is the most diverse in Yale history, according to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. More than 39 percent of the students in the entering class identify themselves as members of minority ethnic or racial groups. About 37 percent indicate an interest in majoring in science or engineering, the highest proportion in recent years. The new students come from all 50 states and 42 countries.

Pro bono work isn’t just for lawyers. Starting this fall, the School of Management will offer a course in which second-year MBA students work in teams to help small businesses and nonprofits in the New Haven area. The SOM Management Clinic will help each client tackle “a challenging, defined problem or project.”

Yale president Richard C. Levin ’74PhD issued a statement in August criticizing the British boycott of Israeli universities as a violation of “the principle of academic freedom that all universities should practice and defend." Levin declined to join 286 American college presidents in signing a petition opposing the ban. While he agreed with its content, he said, “I am not comfortable signing group statements or petitions, in this case as well as hundreds of other similar situations where my participation has been requested.”

A Muslim Charity has withdrawn its libel suit against Yale University Press. KinderUSA filed suit in April charging that the press and author Matthew Levitt had defamed the organization in Levitt’s book Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism. In the book, Levitt suggests that the charity helps to fund the Hamas terrorist group. The suit was withdrawn in August just after lawyers for the defendants moved to have it dismissed. A California law allows a judge to dismiss a suit immediately if it involves free-speech issues and is deemed baseless.


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